COLUMBIA, S.C. — At News19 WLTX, our coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit www.wltx.com/coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about South Carolina specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 803-776-9508.
State and federal officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually monitoring the spread of the virus. They are also working hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization to track the spread around the world and to stop it. DHEC, South Carolina's health agency, is leading the fight in our state.
We will continue to track the most important coronavirus elements relating to South Carolina on this page. Refresh often for new information.
- 13 deaths from the novel coronavirus in South Carolina
- 539 confirmed cases in 39 counties in South Carolina
- DHEC projection indicates there could be 8,000 cases by May
- Columbia issues stay-at-home order for residents
- All public schools in the state closed until at least April 30
- State of emergency in effect
- Gov. McMaster allows law enforcement to break up groups of 3 or more
Saturday, March 28
Prisma Health announces furlough during coronavirus crisis
According to the organization, they do not know how long the furlough will last, and it impacts administrative, corporate and clinical employees.
DHEC now shows South Carolina coronavirus cases by zip code
In addition to showing South Carolina coronavirus cases by county and map, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is now showing the number of positive cases by zip code on its website.
S.C. Corrections officer tests positive for coronavirus
The officer worked in a special-population housing unit with 16 inmates.
President Trump approves major disaster declaration for South Carolina
Federal emergency aid has been made available to supplement local recovery efforts in areas affected by the coronavirus.
Friday, March 27
DHEC: 86 new cases, 4 new deaths related to coronavirus
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Friday four additional deaths related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. This brings the state’s total number of deaths to 13.
The patients, who were all elderly and had underlying health conditions, were from Richland, Kershaw, Greenville and Florence counties.
SC Governor issues mandatory quarantine for visitors from virus 'hotspots'
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a mandatory quarantine for anyone coming into the state from a coronavirus hotspot, as the state announced four more deaths from the virus.
McMaster announced his plan at the state emergency operations center in West Columbia, where he was joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott.
SC U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham tests positive for the coronavirus
South Carolina U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first Congressman from the state to catch the illness.
Cunningham sent a statement out Friday. He'd already been in self-quarantine for eight days after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
Gov. McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham & Tim Scott to speak at 4 PM
outh Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will give an update on the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus today at 4 p.m. and this time, he'll be joined by the state's two U.S. Senators.
McMaster will make his remarks at the state emergency operations center in West Columbia. South Carolina U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott will be there too.
You can watch live on WLTX.com and over-the-air.
Local governments can't issue stay at home orders, AG says
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says local governments don't have the authority to issue their own stay-at-home orders.
Wilson issued a written opinion Friday in response to a question from Rep. Jeff Bradley of Beaufort, and comes after Columbia and Charleston passed orders.
Columbia and Charleston have passed such orders.
SC State Parks to close through April
Beginning Saturday, March 28, all state parks in South Carolina will be closed through Thursday, April 30, to support the state’s response to COVID-19, the state agency said Friday. The closure is designed to keep visitors and employees as safe as possible by mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
SC REAL ID deadline moved to 2021 due to coronavirus
The deadline to get a South Carolina REAL ID has been moved to October, 2021.
DHEC director takes leave during pandemic because of health concerns
In a letter, Rick Toomey says he will be going away for a few weeks because he needs to focus on his health. The change in leadership comes during the coronavirus pandemic. DHEC is one of the leading agencies in the response to the virus.
Thursday, March 26
The Families of Highway Fatalities Annual Fatality Memorial Service has been postponed until further notice.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says they will send out notification letters to families who lost their loved ones on South Carolina roadways in 2019.
Columbia couple trapped in Peru, expected to be back home Friday
Myrtle Beach says visitors must leave by Sunday
Additionally, all short-term accommodations -hotel, motel, AirBnBs, have been ordered to not accept any new reservations beginning Saturday, March 28, and continuing through April 30, 2020.
SNAP recipients to recieve emergency supplements
These funds will be issued on the household EBT card. Additional supplements will be placed on the card on March 28. April benefits will arrive as normally scheduled with the emergencyMy allotment.
Newly approved SNAP cases will receive the maximum allotment level for March and April.
WIC participants can receive benefits without having to present
SCDHEC is not recommending that everyone who is ill get tested for virus
Columbia approves stay-at-home order for all residents
Council approved the measure Thursday afternoon on a remote meeting. The ordinance goes into effect this Sunday, March 29, at 12:01 a.m. It's set to expire in 14 days.
Are you a health care worker? We see free Crocs in your future
The company said it was giving away 10,000 pairs of Crocs a day
Starting at noon each day, go to the Croc's website and sign up.
Richland County Offices closed
Columbia closing park facilities until further notice
The South Carolina Hospital Association is working to identify resources for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients, including equipment and personnel.
The organization has launched a new page to recruit retired or out-of-work healthcare workers willing to support South Carolina hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kershaw County cancels spring sports
Kershaw County has decided to cancel the 2020 spring sports season due to COVID-19. This includes all baseball, softball, and PAL leagues. All spring sports participants will receive a refund by the end of April.
31,000 file for unemployment in South Carolina in one week amid coronavirus-related layoffs
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SC DEW) released the number of unemployment claims for the week ending March 21, and they show the severe impact of the coronavirus on jobs statewide.
The advance figures for South Carolina intrastate initial claims was 31,054, an increase of approximately 1600% from the previous week’s count of 1,996. This means that there were 31,054 individuals who both live and work in the state of South Carolina who filed an initial claim during that week.
Wednesday, March 25
City of Columbia joins Richland County in modifying trash pickup
While City's schedule remains normal, there are some restrictions on what will be collected
Jack West, lobbyist and son of late S.C. governor John West, dies after contracting coronavirus
Jack West, a longtime political lobbyist from Camden and son of former South Carolina Governor John West, died Wednesday after contracting COVID-19, several sources confirm to News 19.
The 71-year-old West, who is the son of former Governor John West, had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks with the virus.
Newberry updates school meal program
Truckers have a message for everyone worried about the virus
Trucker say people can help out the truck industry by being more mindful of how much they buy and how much they actually need.
Teachers who miss their students get creative to see them
“We needed this,” Congaree Elementary school Principal Chris Dickey said. “I think this parade was a way to keep us all connected. It shows that even though we’re not in the building, we’re still together.
Prisma Health device to help extend ventilators
The new device allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients during times of acute equipment shortages such as the current COVID-19 pandemic
Odd Bird books opened just a few months ago
Since the spread of COVID-19, owner Ben Adams has been toying with his business model and is currently offering curbside service and free delivery.
Columbia to consider stay-at-home order for all residents
Columbia City Council will consider a stay-at-home order for all residents when it meets Thursday.
The measure would be similar to one passed by Charleston on Tuesday. That would ban non-essential travel in the city and close non-essential businesses.
Council will take up the measure at a teleconference meeting they're having.
University of South Carolina announces tentative date for graduation
The university has now set tentative graduation dates of August 7 and August 8, according to Jeff Stensland, chief communications officer for USC. "But obviously, that’s subject to change depending on whether it’s safe to hold large gatherings by then," Stensland said.
Food Share South Carolina
FoodShare South Carolina is an organization that helps the community get access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
DHEC: 424 coronavirus cases statewide, projects 8,000 cases by May
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said it is now investigating 82 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 424 cases in 39 counties.
And for they first time, they project into the future, saying there could be 8,000 cases by May.
Transitions Columbia helping the homeless during the virus
At Transitions in Columbia, CEO Craig Currey says the organization has been able to maintain most of the programs and services needed by the men and women that Transitions serves either as residents or non-resident day users
Currey said the organization still serves between 500 to 600 meals a day -- that's breakfast, lunch and dinner to clients. Non clients, or day users, are welcomed by Transitions to come in and use the bathrooms, take a shower or eat lunch.
Rosewood Dairy Bar closes due to COVID-19
A post on their Facebook page announed the closure due to the coronavirus. No word yet on when they hope to open.
"As of today, the Rosewood Dairy Bar will be temporarily closed. We hope all of our customer’s stay safe! Thank you, Cheryl Austin"
Ft. Jackson confirms 2 more cases, total now at 4
Fort Jackson says it has confirmed two more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total now to four.
The latest cases were found as a result of contact tracing. Both are in isolation and receiving necessary medical care
Gov. McMaster requests out of state visitors to self quarantine
In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Henry McMaster is requesting out of state visitors planning to stay in SC two or more nights to self quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
Long's Drugs shuts down, CVS takes over
This isn't directly tied to the coronavirus, but as people look to essential services such as pharmacies, this is important to pass along.
Long's Drugs has shut down nearly all Midlands locations. The company explained that customers prescriptions will now be handled by CVS.
Riverbanks Zoo closed through April
The zoo said in a statement it is following guidelines from state and federal leaders to encourage social distancing and help slow the spread of coronavirus in the community.
Richland County modifies trash collection pickup in unincorporated areas of the County and closes the county landfill and drop-off sites.
South Carolina state income taxes get an extension
Tuesday, March 24
Batesburg-Leesville Police officers read books to kids on Facebook
Since school has been out because of the coronavirus, officers are staying connected with kids by reading to them through their department's Facebook page.
Sumter doctor sacrificing health, time with family to test others for virus
Doctor Clay Lowder, the founder of Colonial Healthcare, says this virus has completely changed the way he and his staff operate.
"It's pretty serious to ask your people that you have worked with for 25 years to go on the front lines and swab somebody for a dangerous disease. You really find out what people are made of," Lowder said
One man helps neighbors stay clean AND safe, a happy virus story
Mark Cox put the hand sanitizer into the mailboxes of those neighbors who didn't have the same luck finding it.
"We actually show are most gracious self's and our best part of humanity when things actually make us step up and realize things are more important, and hopefully somebody will look at what I've done and and take that and be kind to each other, and help each other get through as much as possible," Cox said.
Richland One changes food distribution
Grill Marks-Columbia to close because of COVID-19
From their Facebook page, "Thank you for all your support Cola! We love you all! We are unfortunately closing our doors until this all blows over. We can’t wait to serve you the best burger in town again. See you all soon! "
No word on when they will re-open.
Di Prato's Delicatessen to close due to virus according to Facebook post
From their Facebook Post:
"To our Di Prato's patrons,
We have made the very difficult decision to close our doors for now, effective immediately. Ultimately the safety of our employees and community is the most important to us during this time, and we feel that the best decision for all of us is to close our doors to get through this.
We look forward to brighter days – when we can open our doors back up and welcome you in for your favorite sandwich, salad or pimento cheese. We cannot wait for the day that our dining room is filled with all of your smiling faces again."
City of Charleston orders shelter at home for 14 days
Charleston City Council voted to issue a “stay at home” order for the City of Charleston effective Thursday.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg introduced the proposed measure on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, saying “Modeling at both Columbia University and here locally shows that Charleston is facing thousands of deaths -- most of them unnecessary -- if we don't stop the spread of this virus and prevent our local hospital system from being overwhelmed right now.”
Drive-In theater the 'Big Mo' to close indefinitely due to virus
The 'Big Mo' Drive In theater in Monetta, SC is closing for safety due to the coronavirus
The classic entertainment venue was hoping to stay open but after the governors order and speaking with local lawenforcement they felt this was the right decision for the safety of the community.
2 more coronavirus deaths in South Carolina, total stands at 7
Two more people have died from the coronavirus in South Carolina, bringing the total number of dead in the state to seven.
South Carolina's state health agency, DHEC, announced the news Tuesday night.
One patient was an elderly person from Florence County who had underlying health conditions. The second patient was an elderly person from Horry County with no underlying health conditions.
VIllage Idiot restaurant to close Five Points location due to virus
The other two locations will remain open and workers from the Five Points store will be able to work at the other stores.
DHEC: 342 cases of coronavirus in SC, 44 new cases
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating 44 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 342 cases in 36 counties. That includes new cases in the following Midlands counties:
- Aiken County: 1 case
- Clarendon County: 1 case
- Kershaw County: 4 cases
- Richland County: 4 cases
- Sumter County: 4 cases
Charleston Spoleto Festival 2020 cancels
First time in the festivals 43-year history it is canceling
City of Columbia to waive online payment processing fees
The processing charge for online payments to the City of Columbia will be waived for water, sewer, commercial solid waste and parking garage rental fees until further notice.
Payments will be accepted online at https://www.columbiasc.net/payment-center/online and through the mail to P.O. Box 147; Columbia, SC 29217. Also, customers can drop off payments at the drop box at Washington Square, 1136 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
South Carolina state parks to close Wednesday, Thursday
The parks will open back on Friday after officials decide on coronavirus plans for the parks.
Gov. McMaster and Education Superintendent Spearman: ALL South Carolina schools closed through April
The pair released the following joint statement announcing that South Carolina’s schools will remain closed for the duration of the month of April
“At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April, " says Gov. McMaster.
Local farmers changing the way they operate due to coronavirus
Local farmers in the Midlands are changing the way they operate because of the coronavirus so they can serve the community in a different way.
One farmer has been running a home delivery service so he can still run his business and serve the community.
Mom shares video of kids on butter-coated floors during homeschooling
We have to have a few moment of humanity, right? Something a little lighter? So take a look at this.
Because of the coronavirus, more parents are schooling their kids at home. One Midlands mom had a funny video she wanted to share.
We got a video from Laura Jean Shugert and shows her two kids making a mess on the floor. The mess that the girls are sitting in is butter.
Spectrum map of free WiFi hot spots
Spectrum has a map of free wifi spots, check it out if you're in need: https://www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots.html
Columbia Place shopping mall closes due to coronavirus pandemic
The mall at 7201 Two Notch home to Macy's
Hammond School junior writes song to bring smiles to everyone dealing with the COVID-19 situation
Companies in South Carolina are hiring during pandemic
If you were laid off or are seeking a job, some national companies are hiring now. Amazon may bring up to 500 jobs to South Carolina, and Kroger is hiring within the state, North Carolina and Georgia.
Monday, March 23
Free or discounted internet access for students
All of South Carolina's hundreds of thousands of students are learning at home through at least the end of March.
The Department of Education and individual school districts are planning to provide locations for wifi-enabled buses when they begin operations.
How about something fun to do in your yard?
With folks going a bit stir crazy being inside, our meterologist Alex Calimia has some great ideas for digging in the yard.
If you don't have the ability to purchase seeds from a store in person or online, there are seeds from produce in the kitchen you can try in the ground
Shaw Air Force Base reports first case of coronavirus
A dependent of an active duty U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) off-base, according to officials.
The individual and spouse are in isolation at their off-base residence. Public health officials have begun the contact tracing process to notify those who may have come in contact with the positive individual.
Teachers around the state are having parades for their students
Staff at the Croswell Drive Elementary school held a makeshift parade to see their students by driving through their neighborhoods, honking and holding up signs of encouragement to uplift them while schools are closed due to the virus.
Crime down in Richland County this weekend attributed to virus
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said it was a relatively slow weekend for crime this past weekend, as his officers continue to make sure the streets are safe during the coronavirus crisis.
Local distillary moves from liquor to hand sanitizer
And the decision wasn't even a hard one to make. The hand sanitizer has been made for first responders in both Cayce and Richland county.
South Carolina Honda plant shut down for a week due to virus
Employees will be paid during the shutdown of the plant in TImmonsville, SC.
SC Governor to allow groups of 3 to be broken up by police due to virus
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is giving law enforcement the ability to break up crowds of three or more people as the state tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to spike.
McMaster said he's issued an executive order giving law enforcement the ability to disperse groups of three or more. This DOES NOT apply to families, law-abiding businesses, or grocery stores. It's more targeting a people holding parties at beaches or being unruly in crowds.
He's leaving it to the discretion of law enforcement. "It's difficult to know the line but we know it when we see it,' he added.
Sumter National Forest closing campgrounds, restrooms
The Sumter National Forest will close campgrounds and all restrooms immediately.
Two cases of COVID-19 at Fort Jackson
One is a soldier in training with 3rd battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, and the other is an officer attending the Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course.
Both service members are in isolation and receiving necessary medical care. They will not return to duty until medically cleared.
Update from DHEC
Operational Condition Two
The Lexington County Emergency Operations Center is moving from Operational Condition Three to Operational Condition Two, as County officials continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our community and state.
Additionally, all County buildings remain closed to the general public until further notice
No COVID-19 cure yet
Lowes Food stores to offer senior hours
Lowes Foods is dedicating 7 to 8 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday as shopping hours for seniors and others who are vulnerable to the virus.
Those who are not at risk are being asked to shop at Lowes Foods after 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays or other days of the week. The special shopping hours are in place until further notice.
Two more deaths in South Carolina from the coronavirus
One patient was an elderly person from Clarendon County, who had underlying health conditions. The second patient was an elderly person from Kershaw County who also had underlying health conditions
"This disease is here, it’s in our communities, and we all have a part to play in helping to stop the spread of it.” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.
Gov. McMaster to hold briefing
Governor Henry McMaster will be joined by state public health officials for a media briefing to update the public on the state's response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus today, Monday, March 23 at 4:00 PM.
McMaster last spoke in person on the issue last Thursday. It's unclear yet what he'll have to say, but we will stream that information online here.